2023 (Full Year) Japan: Best-Selling Minicar (Kei) Brands and Models

In full-year 2023, Daihatsu was the top mini-vehicle maker in Japan, Suzuki the best-selling minicar brand, and Honda N-Box the top-selling Kei model.

In full-year 2023, Daihatsu was the top mini-vehicle maker in Japan, Suzuki the best-selling minicar brand, and Honda N-Box the top-selling Kei model.
Honda N-Box © Honda

2023 (January to December): minicar sales in Japan increased by 9.5% to 1,341,330 kei passenger cars. Sales of mini commercial vehicles were down by 2.3% to 403,589 vehicles. The total mini vehicle market increased by 6.5% to 1,744,919 vehicles. Minicar sales in Japan in 2023 were weaker than regular passenger car sales which increased by 19.3% to 2,651,397 cars. Daihatsu remained the top-selling mini vehicle manufacturer in Japan while Suzuki was the top mini passenger car brand. The Honda N-Box was the top-selling minicar model and also outsold the Toyota Yaris in 2023.

Latest Japan Car Sales Statistics: 2023 — Brands, Models, Minicars; Data for 2022 – 2009.

Mini Vehicle Sales in Japan in 2023 (Full Year)

Mini vehicle registrations in Japan in the full calendar year 2023 increased by 6.5% to 1,744,919 mini vehicles compared to 1,638,137 mini vehicles sold in 2022. The market for passenger minicars grew at a fast 9.5% to 1,341,330 vehicles (1,224,995 kei cars in 2022 and 1,275,836 in 2021).

Mini cars (kei-jidousya) in Japan are vehicles defined by amongst others being shorter than 3.4 m with a maximum height of 2 m and a maximum width of 1.48 m. The engine capacity is restricted to 0.66 l measured by the Japanese standard.

Best-Selling Mini Vehicle Brands in Japan in 2023 (Full Year)

The top-selling mini-vehicle producers by brand in Japan in 2023 (January to December) according to Zenkeijkyo were:

BrandBrand20232022% 22/23
Total合 計1,744,9191,638,1376.5
1Daihatsuダイハツ565,928538,9745.0
2Suzukiス ズ キ 531,707501,3396.1
3Hondaホ ン ダ318,563298,9696.6
4Nissan日 産189,627177,4386.9
5Mitsubishi三 菱57,84941,37739.8
6Mazdaマ ツ ダ35,30530,08717.3
7Toyotaト ヨ タ29,51130,457-3.1
8Subaruス バ ル16,20419,438-16.6
Source: Zenkeijkyo

Mini cars (kei-jidousya) in Japan are vehicles defined by amongst others being shorter than 3.4 m with a maximum height of 2 m and a maximum width of 1.48 m. The engine capacity is restricted to 0.66 l measured by the Japanese standard.

Daihatsu, a subsidiary of Toyota, was again the largest producer of mini vehicles in Japan in 2023 with sales up 5%. However, a major scandal broke at the end of the year concerning safety tests conducted (or not conducted) by Daihatsu, which could weigh heavily on not only the brand but the total minicar market in 2024.

Daihatsu is particularly strong in the commercial minicar market while second-placed Suzuki is the leader in mini passenger cars. Mazda and Toyota swapped positions as the only rank change in 2023.

Best-Selling Minicar Brands in Japan in 2023 (Full Year)

The top-selling mini passenger car producers by brand in Japan in 2023 (January to December) according to Zenkeijkyo were:

BrandBrand20232022% 22/23
Total合 計1,341,3301,224,9959.5
1Suzukiス ズ キ 402,379377,6056.6
2Daihatsuダイハツ400,198353,75313.1
3Hondaホ ン ダ288,872265,6248.8
4Nissan日 産151,905142,6466.5
5Mitsubishi三 菱48,13931,88251.0
6Mazdaマ ツ ダ28,33423,49920.6
7Toyotaト ヨ タ12,61119,290-34.5
8Subaruス バ ル8,82510,671-12.3
Source: Zenkeijkyo

Suzuki and Daihatsu remained the top passenger minicar producers in Japan in 2023 with the gap shrinking to just over 2000 vehicles. However, the testing scandal that broke at the end of the year is likely to hit Daihatsu sales hard at the start of 2024.

Of the larger minicar producers, Honda improved the most while Mitsubishi increased sales by half.

Best-Selling Minicar Models in Japan in 2023 (Full Year)

In full-year 2023, Daihatsu was the top mini-vehicle maker in Japan, Suzuki the best-selling minicar brand, and Honda N-Box the top-selling Kei model.
Honda N-Box © Honda Japan

The ten best-selling minicar passenger models in Japan were as follows:

MakerModel Name通称名Sales 2023Sales 2022% 23/22
1HondaN-BOXN-BOX231,385202,19714.4
2DaihatsuTantoタント159,392107,81047.8
3SuzukiSpaciaスペーシア122,275100,20622.0
4DaihatsuMoveムーヴ104,55794,83710.2
5SuzukiHustlerハスラー82,72070,37317.5
6SuzukiWagon RワゴンR72,23582,213-12.1
7NissanRooxルークス70,53672,600-2.8
8SuzukiAltoアルト67,71967,2040.8
9DaihatsuMirrorミラ64,08065,317-1.9
10DaihatsuTaftタフト59,33056,8614
Source: Zenkeijkyo

The top-selling mini passenger car models in Japan in the full year 2023 were again the Honda N-Box, Daihatsu Tanto, Suzuki Spacia, and Daihatsu Move. The only rank order change in the top ten was the Suzuki Hustler moving up two places from a year ago.

In 2023, the Honda N-Box remained Japan’s favorite mini-car model for the eighth consecutive year. It also outsold the Toyota Yaris, which was Japan’s most popular regular car model in 2023. The N-Box was updated late in the year and should boost sales in early 2024.

Latest Japan Car Sales Statistics: 2023 — Brands, Models, Minicars; Data for 2022 – 2009.